The Washington Times - March 25, 2011, 02:16PM

OTTAWA – Every NHL coach wishes he had a crystal ball to see how the rest of the season would turn out. Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau referenced that a couple times Friday – but what he said he saw in regard to Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott could make him a popular fortune teller around Washington.

“[Ovechkin is] probably skating right now as well, and anticipate him to be in practice Monday, at this stage,” Boudreau said Friday morning at Scotiabank Place. “I mean anything can happen but if I did have a crystal ball I’d say him and Jason would be skating with the team on Monday.”

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Ovechkin (undisclosed “nagging” ailment) and Arnott (lower-body injury) have been on the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Boudreau said this week both could return by the end of next week.

The coach has a goal in mind for when he’d like to have the whole playoff gang together.

“You’re hoping by maybe the Toronto game that you’ve got everybody that’s gonna start the playoffs at least be able to play,” Boudreau said. “But it’s like every other team in the league – sometimes those options aren’t there, and you gotta do what’s best for the player and the team in the end, and if guys aren’t ready to play, they’re not ready to play.”

On Friday that includes Eric Fehr, who will be replaced in the lineup by D.J. King. Arnott, Ovechkin, Mike Green and Tom Poti obviously did not make the trip. Only Dennis Wideman and Alexander Semin didn’t skate Friday among the team’s healthy guys.

More from Boudreau

The Caps’ coach riled up the Montreal media last week by saying Canadiens fans who were protesting shouldn’t come to games if they didn’t like what was going on. Speaking with Ottawa reporters Friday, Boudreau didn’t incite any riots but he did toss out a joke when asked who his starting goalie will be for the playoffs:

“No clue,” he said. “Holtby maybe.”

Funny, Bruce.

Boudreau-ism of the day

A Canadian reporter asked Boudreau if he was worried about losing the locker room during the Caps’ eight-game losing streak.

“I don’t think so. Not if you communicate properly with them. They were as upset losing as I was. We were all together, whether we win or lose, I believe our team is.”